Thursday, August 28, 2014

Easy Layered Candle Tutorial

Here at Voyageur we get a lot of questions about candle making such as what wick to use, what temperatures to pour at, and lots of troubleshooting about negative results.  This easy tutorial is designed to be a guideline for those making candles for the first time or for those wanting more consistent results with their candles.  

Layering in candles is all about temperatures and patience, but it definitely pays off in the end!  This lovely layered look is almost reminiscent of a parfait.  Fun and bright, these colours are eye-catching and the new candle glass jars add a unique look.  Here are the steps we took:

1.  Firstly, have all your supplies pre-measured and organized.  The less you have to focus on running around pulling things together while your wax is melting the less room there is for error.  Have your fragrance or essential oil already weighed out so you don't have to do any guess work, make sure there's lots of cardboard or newsprint under your candle containers, and have all your utensils out and ready.

2.  Start melting!  Calculations of how much wax you need should be done in advance.  Each of these candle glass containers hold 8 oz of wax, which is 240 grams.  For the bottom layer we weighed out 150 grams of the Eco-Soya CB Advanced container candle wax.  This wax is super user-friendly and is good for all candles that are going to be staying inside the container into which you pour them (as opposed to be taken out of a mold, then you'd use the Pillar Blend wax).  Melt your wax in a double boiler until it reaches a temperature of about 155 degrees F.  

3.  When all the flakes are melted, remove the wax from the heat and add your fragrance, which should ideally be pre-measured as well.  We scented these candles at 8% fragrance so for 150 grams of wax you'd need 12 grams of fragrance or essential oil.  Pour the fragrance into the melted wax and mix well, then pour the uncoloured wax into your glass container. Depending on what size your container is you'd want to pour the wax at different temperatures; for example, if you were to make tealights that would lose their heat very quickly you'd want to pour them at a higher temperature of about 150 degrees.  If you're making a candle in a thick glass jar where it will lose its heat quite slowly then you'd want to pour at a lower temperature of about 140 degrees. 

4.  Next is positioning your wick.  We recommend using the HTP 1212 x 3.5" wick for these glass jars.  Stick the wick tab down to the bottom of the jar, then use scotch tape to keep the wick centred, making a # sign with the tape.  This ensure the wick does not move around while cooling which would cause an uneven burn pool. 

5.  Instead of trying to wash your dishes out in the sink causing a waxy mess, try cleaning your bowls and pots with paper towel; this is the best method we've discovered to clean candlemaking supplies as long as the wax is melted.  If it solidifies you can use a heat gun to melt excess wax off your equipment, then use paper towel to finish up. 

6.  The trick to a nice layered candle is making sure that the first layer is set up enough where it won't be disrupted by the second pour.  Sometimes, depending on the thickness of your container and the heat of your environment, this can take quite a long time so we definitely suggest moving onto your next candle while your first starts to solidify.  Because it's summertime and the glass jars are very well insulated it took a couple of hours for the first layer to set up.

7.  Repeat steps 2-4 with the same or varying fragrances. We made 4 candles at one time, then waited for the bottom layer to cool.

8.  When your first candle's bottom layer is totally solid it's time to start the top coloured layer.  Have 90 grams of Eco-Soya CB-Advanced wax pre-measured.  Melt the wax to 155 degrees and add your candle dye chips until it reaches the desired shade.  Remember: the wax will always look darker when in melted form, to see its true colour once solidified dip a spoon into the wax and stick it into the fridge for a couple minutes.  Once all the chips have melted remove the wax from heat and add 9 grams of fragrance oil, stirring well. 

9.  Remove the tape surrounding your wick and allow your hot wax to cool until around 140 degrees, then pour it onto the first layer of the candle.  If the wax is too hot it will melt the first layer and cause bleeding of the colours which is not desirable.  

10.  Repeat steps 8-9 until you've finished all your candles!  Here are some great scent and colour combos that we used:

Watermelon Lemonade:
Watermelon Fragrance Oil
Lemon Fragrance Oil
A combination of Red, Pink, and Orange Candle Dye

Sandy Shores:
Almond Fragrance Oil
Golden Honey Candle Dye

Sweet Summer Night:
Pineapple Mango Fragrance Oil
Peach Blossom Candle Dye
Pink Candle Dye

Cucumber Mojito:
Cool Cucumber Fragrance Oil with a touch of Peppermint Fragrance Oil
Lime Green Candle Dye
Seafoam Candle Dye

Here are some frequent troubleshooting questions that we get:

Why do I get that black carbon build-up on the tip of my wick when burning my candles?

This is called mushrooming, which is a carbon build-up caused by the combination of your wick and fragrance.  EcoSoya CB-Advanced wax is clean burning but the addition of scent and colour affects the combustion process of a candle.  Changing the wick, scent, and dye combination can correct this problem.

What wick should I use?
Wicking depends on many factors.  Generally the goal is to have a burn pool that extends all the way out the the edges of the candle and is 1/4 to 1/2 an inch deep.  Here is a rough guideline on where to start when using EcoSoya CB-Advanced soy wax:

Candle 1 to 2 inches in diameter - RRD 34 or HTP 104
Candle 2 to 3 inches in diameter - RRD 40 or HTP 126
Candle 3 to 4 inches in diameter - RRD 50 or HTP 1212

Keeping in mind that successful wicking also depends on the fragrance and dye used as well. 

Why are there spots on my candle that look like the wax has pulled away from the glass?

These are called wet spots and are affected by cooling temperatures.  If you're finding your candle has wet spots try cooling the candle slower (ie. in front of a fireplace) or faster (ie. in the garage).  The recommended cooling temperatures for candles is 70 degrees Fahrenheit.  

Why are there bumpy frosted patches on the sides or top of my candle?

Frosting can be attributed to many different variables such as pouring and cooling temperatures and combinations of colour and scent.  Try increasing or decreasing the pouring temperature by 10 degrees, or changing the colour and/or scent.  If the surface of your candle is rough and bumpy you can use a hair dryer or heat gun 5-6 inches away from the candle to polish them up.

Print Friendly